Monday, November 28, 2022

WSU, Zags reach All-American status at NCAA Championships

Sports Reporter | June 12, 2022 4:05 PM

EUGENE, ORE. — Athletes from both Washington State and Gonzaga participated in the NCAA Track and Field Championships, with athletes from both schools reaching All-American status.

Gonzaga’s James Mwaura finished 15th in the men’s 10,000m run, and WSU had three athletes finish in the top-16; Mitch Jacobson finished fifth in the men’s high jump; Colton Johnsen finished 11th in the steeplechase; and Valentina Barrios Bornacelli finished eighth in the women’s javelin. All four athletes earned All-American honors for their top-16 finishes.

“It's a rare thing for us, and it's a special honor," Gonzaga Men's Track and Field Head Coach Pat Tyson said in a press release. "Especially in this 10,000-meter race, which was so loaded with favorites who didn't even win. The race wasn't the kind of tactical race that favors James' style. He's a guy who lives on 'reeling guys in' mode.”

Mwaura’s 15th-place finish locked up his third All-American title in the previous calendar year. He was named an All-American in the 2021 track and field season, an All-American in cross country this past fall and now again after his performance in Eugene at the 2022 NCAA Championships. The year-long stint is the most successful for any runner in Gonzaga history, according to the school. The sophomore set the Zags’ program record in the 10,000m last year at the NCAA Championships with a time of 27:50.44.

For the Cougars, half of the six athletes sent to national competition came back to Pullman with All-American Awards. Jacobson’s mark of 2.21m was a personal record for the graduate student, upping from his previous best of 2.18 he set during regionals. Johnsen became the first back-to-back All-American in the 3000m steeplechase since WSU Hall of Famer Julius Korir did it in 1984-85. Barrios Bornacelli continued to shine in national competition, setting a new personal record of 54.03m in the women’s javelin. The mark set a new record for a freshman in the program and made her the eighth women’s javelin All-American in Cougar history. She was also the first Cougar to make the women’s javelin finals since 2011.

WSU’s Jacob Englar and Micaela De Mello both placed 17th in their respective competitions, the men’s pole vault and women’s 100m hurdles. They both barely missed All-American status by one placement. Rounding out the performances for the Cougars was junior Aislinn Overby, who finished 19th in the women’s high jump in her NCAA Championships debut.

Some highlights from the rest of the NCAA Championships included the University of Florida sweeping the men’s and women’s championships, making them the seventh school to do so and the first since 2015.

Ian Bivona may be reached at

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